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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Friday
Jul192019

The Old Age App

Before


After

This App didn't work at all!

For man about to turn 65 . . . nothing to see here . . . 

But I do think baseball legend, Satchel Paige, was right when he quipped, "if you didn't know how old you was, how old would you be?" 

Thursday
Jul182019

What Should I Read to Learn More About the Reformed Confessions (The Three Forms of Unity)?

There are a number of great resources which will help you better understand the theology, practical application, and devotional value of the Three Forms of Unity (The Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort).


The URCNA has published a new edition of the Three Forms of Unity--a helpful modernizing and reworking of the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort.  The translations are in crisp modern English and Scripture proofs abound.  This volume includes our liturgical forms, and a number of prayers (both for official church and personal/family use).  The link is to a PDF, so this one is free!  Liturgical Forms and Prayers of the URCNA (PDF)


The Belgic Confession

Rev. Danny Hyde's commentary on the Belgic Confession is a great resource to understand both the content and background of the Belgic Confession.  Arranged as a commentary, the content is easily accessible.  With Heart and Mouth

I have also prepared a series of sermons on the Belgic Confession, which can be found here: Sermons on the Belgic Confession

 

The Heidelberg Catechism

Kevin DeYoung's book on the catechism is a great place to start if the Heidelberg Catechism is new to you.  The Good News We Almost Forgot

 

This is an "off the beaten path" kind of book, but is the best single volume I know of on the background and circumstances which led to the production of the Catechism.  Lots of good biographical material on the Catechism's principle authors (Zacharius Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus).  Don't overlook this one!  It is a gem.  The Church's Book of Comfort


Zacharius Ursinus' "Commentary" on the Heidelberg Catechism is a must read.  But know what you are getting.  The commentary comes to us as the classroom notes taken by David Paraeus from lectures given by Ursinus.  The commentary follows the order of the Catechism, but reads more like a systematic theology.  The translation by G. Willard is dated, and the photo-lithographed type is hard on the eyes. 

But if you love the Catechism, this is must reading:  Ursinus' Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism 

 

The Canons of Dort

Matthew Barrett's book is an important look at the theology of the Canons, especially in light of the Arminian controversy (then and now).  This one is very helpful in spelling out the biblical basis for the Five-Points.  The Grace of Godliness

 

Dr. Godfrey's new book is absolutely must reading.  The history and background to the Canons are discussed in a compelling fashion, but Dr. Godfrey's focus is upon seeing the Canons as an important practical, even devotional document.  This book is worth the price just for Godfrey's translation of the Canons.  Buy this one!  Saving the Reformation

 

Previous Posts in this Series:

What Should I Read to Learn More About the Reformed Confession? Part One -- The Westminster Confession of Faith

 What Should I Read to Learn More About the Lord's Supper?

What Should I Read to Learn More About Infant Baptism?

What Should I Read to Learn More About Covenant Theology?

Wednesday
Jul172019

Best Bible Commentaries Interview on My First Corinthians Commentary

I was recently interviewed by Daniel Christensen, who owns and operates the website Best Bible Commentaries, regarding my First Corinthians Commentary in the Lectio Continua Series of expositional commentaries, now published by Reformation Heritage Books.

Here's the link to the interview:  Best Commentaries -- Interview with Kim Riddlebarger

Best Commentaries is an invaluable resource with reviews and publisher information for pretty much every commentary in print. 

Bookmark this one and check it out if you are looking for a commentary on any book of the Bible:  Best Bible Commentaries

Friday
Jul122019

What Should I Read to Learn More About the Reformed Confessions? Part One -- The Westminster Confession of Faith

People who are new to Reformed theology, find that the writings of our doctors, "divines," and professors, are very wonderful and valuable statements, expositions, and defenses of Reformed doctrine--rich in biblical breadth, and theological wisdom.  These writings are the usual points of contact, and provide the names and resources with which most people are familiar.

But Reformed and Presbyterian pastors and elders (and in some cases, church members) do not subscribe to any of the writings of our well-known theologians (i.e., John Calvin).  Instead, church officers must subscribe to that system of doctrine contained in the Westminster Standards (Presbyterian) or found in the Three Forms of Unity (Reformed).

It is vital for anyone interested in Reformed theology to read and become familiar with these documents, because they constitute our "official" doctrine as confessed by the churches.


The place to start is with Carl Trueman's defense of Creeds and Confessions.  Trueman -- Creedal Imperative

This is an important book for anyone coming from the "Bible church" tradition, and who may not understand, nor appreciate, why creeds and confessions (doctrinal standards) are so vital to the life and health of Christ's church.

Rather than confessing a bare-bones (and usually poorly written) statement of basic doctrines, often hidden away deep in the church's website, the Reformed believe and confess an entire system of doctrine. 

Is this practice biblical?  And why should churches embrace and defend a "creedal" theology.


The Westminster Confession of Faith

 The best edition of The Westminster Confession and Catechisms is this one.

 

 This is a wonderful introduction to the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Highly recommended.  Van Dixhoorn -- Guide to WCF

Dr. Van Dixhoorn's wife has also prepared a companion study guide.

 

John Fesko's The Theology of the Westminster Standards

Provides a good summation of background and historical material, as well as a systematic treatment of the confession's theology, doctrine by doctrine.

 

Previous Posts in this Series:

What Should I Read to Learn More About the Lord's Supper?

What Should I Read to Learn More About Infant Baptism?

What Should I Read to Learn More About Covenant Theology?

 

Friday
Jul052019

What Should I Read to Learn More About the Lord's Supper?

At Christ Reformed Church, we celebrate the Lord's Supper each Lord's Day. 

Reformed people often ask me, "how come so frequently?"

Visiting Evangelicals will ask, "what is a sacrament?  Isn't that a Roman Catholic notion?"

I am also asked, "why do you fence the table?"  Some visitors see this practice as judgmental, and are offended when told they need the permission of our elders to join us at the table.

So, when people have questions about the Lord's Supper that go deeper than a quick explanation, I recommend the following resources (note:  there is a real need for a basic introductory book on the subject -- I hear several are in the works).


Keith Mathison's book lays out the biblical basis for understanding the Lord's Supper as the "real presence" of Christ, whose body and blood are truly received through faith (a "spiritual eating" -- to use Calvin's term).

Mathison covers the historical development of the Reformed view of the elements (bread and wine) as "sign and thing signified."  Mathison also discusses the Roman, Lutheran, Zwinglian views of the Supper, in dialogue with Calvin's notion of "real presence." 

Practical matters (i.e., frequency of the Supper) are also discussed.

This is the best single book on the Supper to date.

Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper

 

Calvin's view of the Lord's Supper is well worth taking the time to read and digest. 

This volume (an anthology) contains two of Calvin's most important treatises on the Supper ("A Short Treatise on the Lord's Supper" and "The Clear Explanation of Sound Doctrine Concerning the True Partaking of the Flesh and Blood of Christ in the Holy Supper"), along with a number of other important works (the Genevan Catechism, Calvin's "Reply" to Cardinal Sadolet, The Necessity of Reforming the Church).

It is always good to read Calvin!  But he is especially helpful on the Lord's Supper.  John Calvin: Theological Treaties

 

This is perhaps my favorite book from Mike (his recent two volume set on justification is also a contender).  Mike discusses the "means of grace" (word and sacrament) in dialogue with a number of contemporary competitors (i.e., Rome and Orthodoxy). 

Mike develops and defends of idea of a "word and sacrament" church--the foundation of all that we do on the Lord's Day.

This is must reading!  (note:  it is not as technical as earlier volumes in this series)

Mike Horton -- People and Place

I wrote an essay defending the frequent celebration of the Lord's Supper in Always Reformed (a festschrift for Dr. Godfrey)

Reforming the Lord's Supper

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Previous Posts in this Series:

What Should I Read to Learn More About Infant Baptism?

What Should I Read to Learn More About Covenant Theology?

 

Saturday
Jun292019

When Life Imitates Chess

Queen to B3.  Bishop to C6 . . .

Wednesday
Jun262019

Premillennialism on the Decline -- The Evangelical Free Church Drops "Premillennial" from Their Doctrinal Statement

A generation ago, this was not even thinkable.  Most evangelicals truly thought amillennarians were closet anti-Semites who really did not take the Bible seriously.  Times have changed!  Apparently, the case has been made, as someone has put it.

On June 19, 2019, the Evangelical Free Church (EFCA) approved the following change (which passed with 79% of the vote) to their doctrinal statement:

The EFCA Board of Directors has introduced a motion to amend Paragraph 9, Article III of the Articles of Incorporation of the EFCA, the Statement of Faith, as follows:

We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.

The EFCA drops "premillennial" from its doctrinal statement


Tuesday
Jun252019

What Should I Read to Learn More About Infant Baptism?

One of the most common requests I get concerns resources regarding infant baptism.

What is the biblical basis for the practice?  

What about those questions which inevitably arise when folks consider attending a Reformed or Presbyterian church and witness an infant presented for baptism by the parents?  On what basis do you baptize an infant when they have not yet professed faith in Christ?

Below are some basic resources (aimed primarily to parents and those who might visit a Reformed or Presbyterian Church), which make the biblical case for the baptism of infants, and which address the questions people ask about the practice.


This is the place to start if the subject is new to you, and you have small children.  Why should our children be baptized?  Why is this doctrine so important to Reformed and Presbyterian Christians?  Infant Baptism --- What Christian Parents Should Know

 

This is a new and very highly recommended book.  It is written for those who have moved beyond the initial questions regarding infant baptism to truly considering whether or not to join a Reformed or Presbyterian Church and who want more information than Satelle's pamphlet (above) can provide. 

This is the best book to give to any friends or family who have questions about infant baptism.  But read it before you give it away!

Baptism--Answers to Common Questions

 

This is another thoughtful book written for those considering joining a Reformed or Presbyterian Church, and who want a simple and biblical explanation as to why we baptize the children of believers.  If Jesus welcomed them, because for such is the kingdom (Luke 18:16), then so should we!  Jesus Loves the Little Children

 

John Fesko's volume is a comprehensive theology of baptism.  Fesko covers the history of infant baptism, the doctrine of baptism in light of new creation, the covenant, and eschatology.  He then deals with baptism as a means of grace, a sacrament, its recipients, and its importance to the church.  This is a great resource for anyone who wants to tackle the doctrine of baptism in the broadest possible context.

Water, Word, Spirit

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Previous Posts in this Series:  What Should I Read to Learn More About Covenant Theology?

Wednesday
Jun192019

What Should I Read to Learn More About "Covenant Theology"?

People often ask me, "what should I read to learn more about . . . ?"

So, throughout the coming summer, I'd like to suggest books (and on occasion other resources) on those topics about which folks frequently seek resources.

The books I will suggest throughout this series are primarily intended for lay people and others who are new to Reformed theology, or who would simply like to know more about various aspects of key Reformed distinctives.


If you have wondered about "covenant theology," and want an introduction to how the Reformed understand the course of redemptive history (the plan of redemption), then this is the place to begin.  This is a very important book to read for anyone who is interested in Reformed theology and who comes from a dispensational background.

You can find it at Mongerism.com (Monergism.com Books) or at Amazon (Sacred Bond)


Mike Horton's God of Promise is another important introduction to covenant theology.  Not a primer, God of Promise makes a substantial contribution to the Reformed understanding of the way in which covenants provide the internal biblical architecture for reading and understanding the whole of Scripture.  How does one determine whether a covenant is a "covenant of works" or a "covenant of grace"?  How do ancient Near-Eastern treaties help us understand the Bible?  Covenant or Testament?  This is a good follow-up to Sacred Bond.


 

This is the classic statement of the Reformed doctrine of the covenant or works and the covenant of grace.  Not an easy read, but a very important book, and well-worth tackling.  Witsius -- The Economy of the Covenants

Also highly recommended is Geerhardus Vos' essay, "The Doctrine of the Covenant in Reformed Theology" (The Doctrine of the Covenant in Reformed Theology)


Tuesday
Jun182019

Summer at the Riddleblog

Hard to believe--given the June gloom and unseasonably cool temps here in Orange County so far--that summer has arrived.

I'm now on vacation and taking my annual sabbatical break.  I'll return (Lord willing) to my church duties in late August.  In the meantime, I'm working on a summer series which will roll out shortly.

It has been a wonderful year for our family.  Both Riddlebarger boys got married and my wife and I now have two new wonderful daughters-in-law.  The picture above was taken in April, with Brianna, Mark, Nancy (on her wedding day with Dave), the missus and me.  Hopefully, we'll get to spend some time together!

Stay tuned . . .